By Jane Lee and Dave Sessions
MLB.com |@JaneMLB |
ARLINGTON -- The A's took advantage of two homers in a five-run fifth inning off Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo on Saturday night, posting a 5-3 victory that evened their three-game series at one apiece and prevented Texas from improving its postseason chances.
With the defeat, the Rangers remained 1 1/2 games behind the American League West-leading Astros, who lost to the Angels, and one game ahead of the Twins, who fell to the White Sox, for the second AL Wild Card spot.
One night after having their season-high 15-game homer streak snapped, the A's powered up again with a three-run shot by Mark Canha and a two-run blast by Danny Valencia, both off Gallardo in the fifth. Gallardo entered with a season-best five-game winning streak, but Saturday's loss was his shortest outing since July 25.
"It was a battle, for sure, from the first inning, the first hitter," Gallardo said. "I was able to get out of some jams there a couple innings before that, but I wasn't able to do it [in the fifth]." More >
Oakland starter Sean Nolin tossed 5 2/3 innings for his first career win, allowing one earned run on five hits. He struck out five and walked two.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Homer happy: The A's snapped a 16-inning scoreless drought when the rookie Canha launched his 15th home run -- a three-run shot to left field -- off Gallardo, following consecutive one-out singles from Sam Fuld and Marcus Semien. Josh Reddick kept Oakland's rally alive with a base hit, his second of the night, and Valencia distanced the A's with a two-run shot to left, his seventh in 29 games with the A's.
Napoli goes deep off lefty: Napoli, whom the Rangers acquired a month ago to give them another right-handed power bat, lived up to that billing in the second with a solo homer off the lefty Nolin. Napoli's 349-foot line drive to left was his third homer this season as a Ranger, and his 16th overall.
Never Dull:Ryan Dull continues to be a bright spot in an A's bullpen that's struggled to string together consistent innings. The rookie right-hander, who began the season at Double-A Midland, entered in relief of Drew Pomeranz with one on and no outs in the seventh inning and struck out Delino DeShields, Adrian Beltre and Fielder to offset a one-out walk and strand two to maintain a four-run lead. Dull worked a scoreless eighth to extend his career-opening scoreless streak to eight innings.
"That's the first time he's had some traffic, too, and he pitched through it," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "He's nothing but impressed more and more every time out." More >
Doubles and nothing:Elvis Andrus had a career-high three doubles, becoming the first Ranger to collect three doubles in a game since Beltre on Sept. 20, 2014, in Anaheim. Andrus was stranded each time, though. In the fourth and sixth, Rougned Odor followed Andrus with a walk, but the next batter, Ryan Rua, popped out and grounded out to end each of those frames. In the eighth, after Andrus doubled, Odor grounded out and Will Venable, pinch-hitting for Rua, popped out to end the inning.
"They've been a challenge for us for most of the year. To get to where we want to go, we've got to be able to compete against left-handers, we've got to be able to swing the bat against left-handers, we've got to be able to drive in runs against left-handers. … We'll find a way to get it right." -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister, on club's difficulties facing left-handed pitching
WHAT'S NEXT A's: The A's will send lefty Felix Doubront to the mound for Sunday's 12:05 p.m. PT series finale against the Rangers at Globe Life Park. Doubront is 0-4 with a 12.23 ERA in seven career appearances, including four starts, against Texas.
Rangers: Rookie righty Chi Chi Gonzalez returns to the mound for the Rangers at 2:05 p.m. CT as Texas tries to win the series over the A's before beginning a crucial four-game set at home against AL West-leading Houston.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.